Napoleon's Feet

a graduate student's step(s) between the sublime and the ridiculous

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May 15th, 2009 5:38:04 pm - Subscribe

less than two weeks til i leave town for the only place where i have felt that what i am doing is actually possible.


Apr 17th, 2009 3:52:30 pm - Subscribe

im on the verge of a summer already filled with articulate yet unconfirmed plans. i feel simultaneously liberated and terrified.



Apr 12th, 2009 6:48:23 pm - Subscribe

around passover each year i experience a bout of homesickness that is unique from most pangs for my family i have at other times. passover has never been an idyllic time in my family, as most important holidays have frequently, to my memory, erupted in huge fights between elder generations of siblings that never seemed to be able to get along - neither as children, nor as adults. in more recent years, passover has evolved into something a bit more intimate, and the numbers of angry people have been pared down. my mother leads the seder, as she did in practice in the past, and is the only one that truly remembers the 'order,' as well as most of the songs. as the only other member of my nuclear family that knows the language (albeit with a great deal of rust), i struggle to keep up with her, read explanations and blessings in the hebrew. my mother remembers all the songs, and the rest of us remember the tunes and hum along the parts in which we cant remember the words.

i havent been home for passover in at least two years - since i moved to the US. my first year in toronto i think i might have gone home, but i don't think i did for my second year. i think im pretty used to not being home for this holiday, but it doesnt make it any easier to not participate in my family seders, or to suffer from consuming 'the bread of our affliction' with my siblings and parents. some of us are fortunate to fashion new 'families' where we go, and i feel lucky to have found myself a new family here with whom i can suffer ... and of course, rejoice. but my mother's seder seems to me to remain the benchmark for most passover experiences ive had afterward. i wonder where i will be next year for passover.


Apr 5th, 2009 4:30:49 pm - Subscribe

all my little words (the magnetic fields) is perhaps one of the most beautiful songs i have ever heard.


Apr 4th, 2009 5:22:27 pm - Subscribe

stealing neighbourhood internet until i get mine fixed on tuesday.

spent 11 hours in front of a microfilm machine today. feels strange to be in my apartment again, with real air flow from open windows. i really think the library wouldnt be quite so horrid if there were open windows on each floor. instead, i end up taking quick breaks out doors to get fresh air, and coming back inside to the library feels like entering a stuffy womb of sorts. it just sucks the energy out of me everytime i spend time there. unfortunately there is no substitute for the library when it comes to microfilm.

i had a fantastic research day today that made me feel wonderful for two main reasons:

a) my success was based on a historical 'hunch' that i investigated further.

b) despite not having the two years of journal film that i had banked on investigating (THANK YOU, library), i found everything i wanted to find on the following year's roll.

a third and larger reason i feel fabulous about my progress today is the simple fact that prior to this weekend, i had felt rather lukewarm about the direction of this project. a short progress meeting this week sort of perked me up again, but good research days still seemed to me to be few and far between. today was one of the few, so far, but it certainly was enough to rouse my inner historienne once again.

last night i plumb 'forgot' i have this plate piled high. i went out and locked my work up and pretended it didnt exist. in fact, it did exist. it was packed up in a knapsack, ready to go for the morning. but much like i did in toronto, i managed to fool myself pretty well into enjoying myself with almost no thought of *everything* i have to do, and *everything* i am thinking about practically *every day.* in toronto, i left my work in the upper annex and ran away to places like kensington market, where music was playing loudly and i didnt have to explain *it* all, or even think about *it.*

here, it often seems there is no where to run from the work. but last night i ran really far, and it did me well. i came back to the nineteenth century with fresh eyes. in the morning i showered, made a quick coffee, and slung the work over my shoulder. i spent the day thinking about *it,* making *it* happen.

its days like today that make all the hoop jumping worthwhile.

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